Group 1 Feast At Longchamp! Criterium International Preview + 18/1 Double!

Paris Longchamp

With the Group 1 action at Doncaster being abandoned yesterday, Longchamp provides some relief on Sunday, with a pair of fantastic Group 1 contests to get stuck into. With the return of Aintree to our horse racing tips to boot, it’s a day of racing to savor! Get the low down on all of the French Racing below!

Criterium International (1.00pm)

The first of the Group 1 contests is the Criterium International, a Group 1 contest for both two-year-old colts and fillies. Contested over seven furlongs, this is going to be a huge test for these young horses with heavy ground expected. Wichita is the narrow favourite for Aidan O’Brien, posting a career-best on his third start to rout his rivals in a Group 3 at Newmarket. He filled out third in the Dewhurst when last seen, which was another very solid effort.

The worry for him, would be the softer ground, which is far from ideal. That perhaps hands the initiative to Jean-Pierre Carvalho’s ALSON, who has progressed with each start, winning a Group 3 at Baden-Baden on his third career outing. He was upped to Group 1 level on his latest outing, where he was collared late on by Victor Ludorum in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere.

He should be allowed a soft lead in this contest, with both O’Brien horses likely to stalk the pace. It’s going to be difficult to make up ground in the conditions and with Frankie Dettori doing the steering, they’re going to find it difficult to peg back this improving son of Areion.

Tip: ALSON (8/5)

Prix Royal-Oak (2.50pm)

A fascinating contest over the two-mile distance, with stamina sure to come to the floor on the heavy ground. Holdthasigreen will be staying on all day long, last seen beating Call The Wind to land a “very soft” ground 2m 4f Group 1 at this venue earlier this month. There is unlikely to be much between those two once again and they have obvious form claims in the greater context of the race, especially due to their stamina and suitability to the ground.

There are two British challengers in this contest, the first being Lah Ti Dar for John Gosden. She’s been frustrating this year, given how she made the perfect start to the campaign when landing the Middleton at York. She’s failed to kick on since, and was far too keen when fourth in the 1m 6f Prix de Royallieu earlier this month. If she settles, she has obvious form claims, but caution is likely best advised given those tendencies, coupled with the deep ground.

The second British challenger is TECHNICIAN, who has relished stepping up to the staying distances in recent starts. A Group 3 winner at Newbury back in August, he claimed Group 2 honours when scoring here earlier in the month over 1m 7f. He handles softer ground and won’t mind this extra yardage. He’s still unexposed as a stayer and should have plenty more to offer for Martyn Meade, getting the verdict as a result.

Of the others, Called To The Bar was second in this race twelve months ago and won a Group 3 on his latest outing, but he may struggle to match the class of some of these rivals given his overall profile.

Tip: TECHNICIAN (13/2)

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